PORT Saints kept the pressure on Macleay Valley Rangers at the top of the Football Mid North Coast Premier League with a 1-0 win over Forster Tuncurry on Tuesday night.
Saints hit the lead early through a Patty Hamilton strike within the first 10 minutes before the Tigers got back into the match and were unlucky not to pinch a point.
Saints coach John Goodman was pleased to come away with all three points from a tricky mid-week road trip down the Pacific Highway.
“I was a bit relieved at the end of the game to be honest,” he said.
“We probably had in our minds that when we led 1-0 late on a Tuesday night we were a bit unsure how to play.
“We were stuck in two minds whether we should have defended the lead or kept playing.
“They were probably a bit disappointed not to get a point.”
Goodman said his side was “running through” the Tigers with relative ease for the first half.
Saints midfielders Aaron Grose and Flynn Goodman had a “lot of joy” through the middle of the park.
A few tactical changes from the opposition saw them gain a foothold after their high pressing game created a few headaches for the Port Macquarie side.
After last weekend’s rest, Goodman felt the mid-week catch-up game suited his side.
“We shouldn’t be as rusty this weekend after not playing last weekend, but playing on the Tuesday,” he said.
Goodman was also pleased with the spirit the match was played in.
“It was without doubt the cleanest game I’ve seen played all season,” he said.
“Whenever someone got knocked over they were helped up and it was really enjoyable.”
Saints will be without Anthony Jamieson and Aaron Grose for this Saturday’s clash at Findlay Park against Wauchope.
“I’m sure a couple of guys will fill those spots,” Goodman said.
“There are a few options there, but I’m not sure who it will be just yet.”
The Saints coach believes the clash with Wauchope looms as a tricky encounter, but he expects his side to have improved since the last match between the two sides.
On that occasion, Saints conceded two early goals before registering a 5-2 victory.
“Defensively we’ll be a lot better,” Goodman said.
Saints have conceded just one goal in their last three matches.
“We’ve just kept our second clean sheet of the season and I can’t see us letting in early goals again like we did last time,” he said.
“But it is a tricky one, there’s no doubt about that and I’m sure they will be better as well.
“It’s the sort of competition where last can beat first and that’s what we want.”